A brief guide to the next Ways and Means chair’s alumni on K Street

Gun Rights

Updated

With Daniel Lippman

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NEW WAYS AND MEANS CHAIR HAS FEW ALUMNI ON K STREET: Missouri Republican Jason Smithcame out on top Monday in the three-way race to lead the powerful House Ways and Means Committee — which has jurisdiction over taxes, trade, Medicare and Social Security — marking somewhat of a turnaround after it appeared that Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan or Nebraska Rep. Adrian Smith were the frontrunners for the gavel. While the full conference must still sign off on the recommendation, our Benjamin Guggenheim notes that is largely a formality.

— Jason Smith doesn’t have many former staffers working downtown, though he does have a few — and surely alumni of his office will be in demand on K Street soon. Adam Steinmetz, a former policy adviser to Smith on the House Budget Committee he previously led, is the only multi-client lobbyist who previously worked for Smith. He’s now at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck,where he lobbies for clients like Centene, AbbVie, Walgreens and Novartis.

Erick Harris, a former legislative counsel for Smith, is now a lobbyist at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which represents online advertisers. Smith’s former legislative director, Justin Sok, is now managing director for tax at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. And he’s not registered to lobby, but former Budget Committee aide Gary Haglund is now a senior policy analyst with Americans for Prosperity.

— Compared with the other three frontrunners for the post, Jason Smith most represented the strain of populism sweeping through the GOP, but that dynamic means the committee was likely to take on a relatively more populist tilt no matter who became chair, argued Mark Williams, a onetime Ways and Means aide now at the lobbying firm Ferox Strategies. Williams added that any of the lawmakers would still be friendly to business.

— “I believe his colleagues believe that he had the capacity to speak to how to advance U.S. competitiveness, how to create jobs, keep protecting and grow U.S. jobs,” Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s Mark Epley, also a Ways and Means alum, told PI of Smith. “He believes these things and it’s incumbent upon K Street to make — their advocacy needs to speak to those things in a meaningful and true way.”

— Both pointed to Smith’s tenure as the GOP leader on the Budget Committee as one of his strongest assets in the race — and in particular his adeptness at messaging complex issues — which will come in handy as House Republicans embark on an aggressive oversight agenda that will include intense scrutiny of the IRS.

— Smith is also “going to be the quarterback that will undertake the extraordinary effort” to extend numerous components of the 2017 GOP tax bill that are set to expire in the coming years and which are top of mind for the business community, Epley noted. Of course, those roles will converge for a prominent fundraising perch. “I would expect that Jason Smith has a lot more new friends today than he had last week,” joked Williams.

Hello and welcome to PI. We’re absolutely gutted over the loss of Blake Hounshell, without whom your host would not be here today. As anyone who’s ever worked with or met Blake can attest, we were all better off knowing him and our hearts go out to his family, friends and all those he touched. Tips: [email protected]. Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

FIRST IN PI — EXXON LOBBYIST DECAMPS FOR VOGEL GROUP: Deanna Archuleta is joining The Vogel Group as a principal. She was most recently a senior director of federal relations at Exxon Mobil, where she oversaw the oil giant’s engagement with the White House, federal agencies and Senate. She previously led government affairs in New Mexico for Exxon subsidiary XTO Energy, and before that held various roles in the Obama Interior Department and for former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

— In an interview, Archuleta told PI that she would likely focus on a variety of energy and environment issues initially before taking on a broader portfolio. “I really wanted to grow and learn … those aspects of other industries,” she said of her decision to leave Exxon. “I think that going to an outside group, like Vogel, really gives you a huge variety of work that you can do. And, you know, for me, it’s about how do you keep learning? How do you keep growing as a human?”

NARRATIVE ELEVATES 4: Narrative Strategies has named Rosemarie Calabro Tully and Andrew Fimka partners in the public affairs firm, the first such promotions since its founding in 2019. Both joined Narrative in 2019, and Calabro Tully most recently served as managing director while Fimka served as managing director for client services and growth. The firm also named Christine Hennessey managing director and promoted Greg Blair to content and editorial director.

CHEROKEE TRIBES TURN TO K STREET: “Three Cherokee tribes are pushing aggressively for the U.S. government to make good on a nearly 200-year-old promise to award them a sitting delegate in the House of Representatives,” POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs reports.

— “But, sensing that lawmakers may finally act amid the Biden administration’s historic advances in Native American causes, they’re also quietly competing against each other for the largely ceremonial seat. And so they have done what those in search of Washington influence often do: hired a bevy of consultants, lawyers and K Street types to push their cause.”

— “One of the tribes, the Cherokee Nation, has launched a Facebook and Instagram ad campaign and its leaders have booked major television appearances. Another tribe, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, enlisted a PR firm about six months ago to push back against the narrative that the Cherokee Nation is deserving of the sole delegate. The third, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, said the issue is a legislative priority for 2023. They’ve also donated generously to lawmakers.”

— “‘If you’re going to accomplish things, there are lobbyists,’ said Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band. ‘As tribal leaders, we understand that — it’s not how we would prefer to have to do things but it is what it is.’”

— “The fight over the seating of a delegate representing the Cherokee tribes is an extremely rare collision of America’s historical sins and the subterranean forces of its current political system” and “a lesson in how immovable Congress can be.” Even amid positive developments in the last Congress, “there is concern on the Hill that lobbying and consulting firms may be profiting off what could be a futile effort.”

BANKMAN-FRIED ASSOCIATE MEETS WITH PROSECUTORS:“Former FTX engineering chief Nishad Singh met with federal prosecutors in a bid to become the third member of Sam Bankman-Fried’s inner circle to seek a cooperation deal in the fraud case over the cryptocurrency exchange’s collapse,” per Bloomberg’s Ava Benny-Morrison and Lydia Beyoud.

— “Singh, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, attended a so-called proffer session last week at the Southern District of New York US Attorney’s Office, according to people familiar with the matter. At such meetings, individuals are usually granted a limited immunity to share what they know with prosecutors.”

— “Singh, a Democrat mega-donor who lived with Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas, could offer an insight into the campaign finance side of FTX. He has given more than $9.3 million to Democratic candidates and committees since 2020.”

— “In the last election cycle, he shelled out $8 million alone. Among the largest recipients was Mind The Gap, a political action committee founded by Bankman-Fried’s mother that received $1 million from Singh in April, 2021. Singh also received hundreds of millions of dollars in loans from Alameda Research, according to bankruptcy court filings” and “aside from his political donations, Singh was a key figure in FTX’s management circle and decision making.

MOMS DEMAND FOUNDER STEPS DOWN: Shannon Watts, one of the country’s most influential gun-safety activists, says she will retire later this year from Moms Demand Action, the grass-roots advocacy group she began in her kitchen a decade ago and grew into a political juggernaut,” The Washington Post’s John Woodrow Cox reports.

— “Now, in much of the country, Moms Demand’s influence has eclipsed that of its longtime adversary, the National Rifle Association. Under Watts’s leadership, the organization has established chapters in all 50 states and enlisted tens of thousands of volunteers — almost always dressed in branded red shirts — to organize rallies, campaign for ‘gun sense’ candidates and pack meeting rooms where firearms laws are being debated.”

— Last summer, Watts “helped organize a massive lobbying effort that directed more than a million calls and messages to the Senate” in support of gun reforms in the wake of another deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

— “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed Congress with relative ease, despite NRA opposition. The bill didn’t include many of the sweeping changes activists had long fought for, but it represented the first significant gun legislation to become federal law in three decades.”

Jobs Report

Clement Abonyi has joined the Credit Union National Association as its director of advocacy. He was most recently chief of staff for Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Jeffrey Wieand Jr., has joined WilmerHale as a public policy adviser. He most recently served half a decade as counsel to House Majority LeaderSteve Scalise.

Allon Advocacy has added Lexi Hall as senior policy adviser. She was previously head of policy at MX and is a Senate Banking alum.

J.A. Green & Company has brought on retired Rear Adm. Charles “Chip” Rock as executive vice president for defense programs; Mark Lewis, a former House Armed Services staffer and Pentagon official overseeing special operations forces, to be vice president for government relations; and Ryan Alban, a former Army liaison to the Senate, as director of government relations.

Sean Calabria has joined American Global Strategies as a research associate. He most recently was senior research analyst at America Rising.

C. LeRoy Cavazos-Reyna is joining Public Private Strategies as senior adviser. He previously was vice president of government and international affairs at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Bennett Richardson is now director of policy brand marketing at Google. He previously was with POLITICO since 2013, most recently as president of Protocol.

Jane Horvath is now a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She most recently was chief privacy officer at Apple.

Joi Chaney is returning to her consulting practice, J.O.I. Strategies. She most recently was executive director of the Washington bureau and senior vice president for policy and advocacy at the National Urban League.

Lauren Reddington is joining Leidos as press secretary for the health group. She previously was deputy communications director for former Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Ashley Taylor has been named vice chair of Troutman Pepper. He’s currently co-leader of Troutman Pepper’s state attorneys general practice and a partner in the regulatory investigations, strategy and enforcement practice group.

— The Motion Picture Association has added Hap Rigby as senior vice president for federal government affairs and Kenneth Mallory as vice president for media policy and regulatory counsel. Rigby was most recently a senior policy adviser at Wiley Rein and Mallory was most recently head of public policy for Meta in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

— The Center for Democracy & Technology has hired Nathalie Maréchal as co-director of its privacy and data project. She was most recently a policy director at Ranking Digital Rights.

Jenette Morell is joining Michael Best Strategies as a principal. She previously served as director of government relations for Vita Inclinata Technologies.

— The American Wood Council added Will Layden as vice president of government affairs. He was most recently the deputy staff director for the House Natural Resources Committee.

Jordan Wicker is joining Career Education Colleges and Universities as vice president of government relations. He previously worked with Purdue University and Indiana University Health, Inc. as a government relations consultant at Hohlt & Associates.

New Joint Fundraisers

None.

New PACs

Americans for American Business in America (Super PAC)
FIGHT ON IA (Leadership PAC: Ashley Hinson)
Hawaii Conservatives Federal (Super PAC)
Saving America 2024 (PAC)

New Lobbying Registrations

Advanced Policy Consulting, LLC: Ata Action
Ajw, Inc.: Aqua Metals, Inc.
Ats Communications, Inc.: Alakai Defense Systems
Ats Communications, Inc.: Maplarge
Ats Communications, Inc.: The Columbia Group, Inc.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Pra Group, Inc.
Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs: City Of Kelso
Leon Consultants, LLC: Comcast Corporation
Leon Consultants, LLC: Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.
Mindset Advocacy, LLC (Fka Cypress Advocacy, LLC): Arnall Golden Gregory, LLP
Park Government Relations, LLC: Davita
Yc Consulting, LLC: Patients Rising Now

New Lobbying Terminations

Card & Associates, LLC: Husch Blackwell Strategies On Behalf Of The University Of Houston
Card & Associates, LLC: Messina Group, Inc On Behalf Of Montefiore Medicine Academic Health System, Inc.
Edington, Peel & Associates, Inc.: City Of Norwalk, California
Edington, Peel & Associates, Inc.: I-5 Consortium Cities Joint Powers Authority
Foley Hoag LLP: Easterseals
Franco Environmental Law LLC: Canola Council Of Canada
Gallant Government & Law Group, LLC: Canola Council Of Canada
Hannegan Landau Poersch & Rosenbaum Advocacy: Asset Protection & Security Services, Lp
Holland & Knight LLP: Ansys, Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Credo Semiconductor Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Infinium Operations, LLC
Holland & Knight LLP: Ninetwelve Institute
Holland & Knight LLP: Velocys, Inc.
Lobo Strategies: Signature Science LLC
Mcallister & Quinn, LLC: Ascend Elements
Mcallister & Quinn, LLC: Mighty Good Solutions
Mcallister & Quinn, LLC: Moldex-Metric, Inc.
Mcallister & Quinn, LLC: National Volunteer Fire Council
Michael Yaki Consulting: Antimicrobials Working Groups
Mr. Peter Knight: Federal Home Loan Bank Of San Francisco
The Williams Group: Pmi Global Services Inc.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of Influence used incorrect pronouns for Ashley Taylor of Troutman Pepper.

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